Anemia: Low Red Blood Cell Count

Anemia: Low Red Blood Cell Count

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Definition: Anemia is a common condition that afflicts many people around the world. Anemia is a Greek word meaning ‘without blood’. The modern definition of Anemia is any condition characterized by an abnormal decrease in the body’s total red blood cell mass. It is also defined as a condition in which a person has fewer red blood cells than normal and feels very weak and tired.
Anemia Causes: The causes of Anemia are all related to the Red Blood Cells (RBC). It is cause d mainly due to impaired RBC production or increased RBC destruction and is caused due to blood loss and fluid overload. The most common cause of anemia is blood loss, although this does not have any permanent symptoms. Excessive blood loss can be caused by stomach ulcers, hemorrhoids, inflammation of the stomach, cancer, some medications, childbirth, mensuration, surgery and trauma in accidents. Immune reactions, some medications, infections, medical procedures and toxins for example using a heart-lung bypass machine, or hemodialysis can cause hemolysis. Diet and hormones also play a key role in the development of anemia. A diet that lacks iron, Vitamin B12 or folic acid can forestall the body from performing enough red blood cells.
Symptoms of the Disease: When suffers from Anemia, the symptoms are not obvious soon. The symptoms of anemia depend on the condition or according to the cause of the anemia. Lethargy and tiredness are the most public symptoms of anemia and the most pronounced. Lethargy is a mental condition in which a person does not feel like working and fatigue is a physical condition in which a person feels he does not have enough energy to work. Another symptoms are malaise (seems that one is not well), dyspnea (shortness of breath; breathing hard or difficult), poor concentration, palpitations and sensitivity to acold temperatures.
Treatment of the Disease: Anemia is diagnosed through a blood test and once the doctor identifies the cause of anemia there are different treatment options available. Treatments may have dietary changes or supplements, medicines, procedures, or surgery to treat blood loss. The goal of treatment is to modify the average of oxygen that the blood can carry.

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This is done by raising the red blood cell count and/or hemoglobin level. The treatment of anemia can be began as follows:
a) Dietary Changes: patient's whose diets are found to be lacking in iron will be urges to consume plenty of iron-rich foods, such as dark-green leafy vegetables, artichokes, apricots, beans, lentils, chick peas, soybeans, meat, nuts, prunes, and raisins.
b) Supplements: To raise the vitamin or iron level, the doctor may prescribe vitamin or iron supplements. Common vitamin supplements are vitamin B12 and folic acid (folate). Vitamin C sometimes is given to assistance the body absorb iron.
c) Blood Transfusions: A blood transfusion is a safe, common procedure in which blood is given through an intravenous (IV) line in one of your blood vessels.
d) Blood and Marrow Stem Cell Transplant: A blood and marrow stem cell transplant alter your faulty stem cells with healthy ones (a donor).
e) Surgery: If a patient has serious or life-threatening bleeding that's causing anemia, he may need surgery. For example, he may need surgery to control ongoing bleeding due to a stomach ulcer or colon cancer.
Like any other medical condition, anemia should be diagnosed at the earliest and a doctor’s advice should be followed including taking the proper medications and making dietary changes where necessary.
(No. of words: 576)

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Uthman, Ed. 1998. Understanding Anemia. s.l. : University Press of Mississippi, 1998.

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